October 14, 2016 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

The building known as “The Castle” is hard to miss while driving through Plattsmouth on Webster Boulevard. Its imposing grey stone structure boasts Elizabethan towers and arched doorways fit for a Scottish king. For its 100 or so residents, however, The Nebraska Masonic Home is a warm and caring place to spend their retirement years.

“This is their home,” executive director Mary Stockton says. “And the Masonic Home is like a home to me after working here 12 years.”

As a continuing care retirement community, the facility provides a range of options that can change with the needs of residents: independent apartment living, assisted living, nursing care, and special care for residents with Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia. Residents enjoy a range of activities and outings as well as amenities and services from housekeeping to state-of-the-art dining facilities.
nebraska-masonic-home-2But not just anyone can take up residence at the Nebraska Masonic Home. It has exclusively served eligible members of Masonic organizations—like Scottish Rite, York Rite, and Shriners International—and their eligible female relatives (wives, widows, mothers, daughters, sisters, grandmothers, and granddaughters) since 1903. It is the only Masonic retirement facility in the state.

“Masons support their brothers, and Masons take care of their families,” Stockton says. “Masons, on the whole, are a very generous, caring group of gentlemen. They are the most philanthropic that I’ve ever seen…Whatever they can do to help, they’re there.”

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That generosity manifests through The Nebraska Masonic Home Foundation, which provides support for both the facility and individual residents who require financial assistance; the facility does not participate in government funding through Medicare and Medicaid.

Employee turnover is unusually low compared to the norm for retirement communities and nursing homes, Stockton says, and the staff includes employees at all levels who have reached 10, 15, or 20-year anniversaries. Some have been on the job even longer.


nebraska-masonic-home-1Marilyn McLaughlin, a CNA/CMA, will reach 30 years with the Nebraska Masonic Home next spring.

“The staff and residents are nice, considerate, and respectful. You feel as soon as you walk in that you just want to be here and help,” McLaughlin says, adding that a manageable workload allows direct care staff like herself to provide quality care. “I couldn’t go and work anywhere else after working here.”

Chris Abbott, the facility’s administrative assistant and admissions coordinator, joined the Nebraska Masonic Home 26 years ago and says she had a positive impression immediately.

“I had never been in a nursing home, and I was just amazed when I walked in the door. I could smell good food cooking. The people were wonderful, the residents were well-dressed and clean…26 years later I’m still at it and I’m not going anywhere,” Abbott says. “Residents get care not like anyplace else; it’s a place where people are made to feel wanted. We care about residents, and we care about their families.”

Stockton agrees: “It really is a privilege to know and care for them.”

Visit thenebraskamasonichome.org for more information. Sixty Plus

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